A MINISTER has defended government support for farmers after complaints that Dorset is losing tens of millions of pounds from its rural economy.
As previously reported, research for the organization Great South West found that the £38.3million currently paid to landowners in the county under the Common Agricultural Policy Basic Payment Scheme will drop to £4.8 million pounds by 2027.
The scheme will then be abolished completely and payments under a new system are expected to be much lower.
But Agriculture Minister Victoria Prentis insisted the changes were good.
She said: “Our new programs support the choices individuals make for their own operations and help increase their productivity and profitability. We recently nearly tripled our new Farm Equipment and Technology Fund to over £48million to support more farmers with their investment plans.
“In 2017, £1.775 billion in payments were made across 85,000 farms and 10% of claimants received half of that total. Thirty-three per cent of farms received less than £5,000 each. It’s not fair and we’re reallocating that money to paying farmers for the work they do, rather than the amount of land they own. In the South West, more than 5,000 farmers are already in our environmental land management plans.